Dimitri Ashkenazy

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Dimitri Ashkenazy (born October 8, 1969 in New York City) is an Icelandic clarinetist living in Switzerland.[1] He is the son of pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy and has toured Europe with him, as well as performing under him with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.


Dimitri Ashkenazy was born into a musically successful family: he is the son of pianist and conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy and Þórunn Jóhannsdóttir, and his brother Vovka is also a professional pianist.[2][3][4][5] In 1978 he moved with his parents from his native Iceland to Meggen, near Lucerne in Switzerland, where he has lived ever since.[6] At the age of 9, he was involved in a waterskiing accident in Greece[7] when one of his legs was slashed by the propeller of a speedboat, leaving him severely jaundiced.[3] He was brought to Sydney to Professor Earl Owen, a pioneer in microsurgery, to have the leg rebuilt.[3]

Ashkenazy received music lessons on the piano from the age of six, and at the age of 10 he switched to the clarinet.[6] He won numerous prizes at the Swiss Youth Music Competitions of 1986-88 in solo and chamber music, and in 1989 he entered the Conservatory of Lucerne, obtaining a teaching diploma with distinction in 1993 after studying under Giambattista Sisini.[6] He was a founding member of the European Soloists Ensemble in 1992.[4] A 1994 review in Stereo Review said of his interpretation of Richard Strauss, "The performers ... give an excellent account of themselves and of the delectable music."[8]

Since 1991, he has given concerts all over the world, including at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, the Sydney Opera House,[3] in London's Royal Festival Hall, the Salzburg Festival, the Rudolfinum in Prague and at the Salle Pleyel in Paris.[6] He has worked with prestigious orchestras such as the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra,[9] and the St. Petersburg Philharmonic and with renowned artists such as Peter Maxwell Davies, Krzysztof Penderecki, Edita Gruberová, Barbara Bonney and Bernd Glemser.[6] He has toured Europe with his father, and has performed under him with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.[2]

Ashkenazy has premiered four clarinet concertos: Concerto per Clarinetto e Orchestra Piano Americano of Italian composer Marco Tutino at Teatro alla Scala, Passages for clarinet and orchestra by Filippo del Corno,[6] Richard Festinger's Equinox[10] and George Palmer's concerto It Takes Two, for two clarinets and chamber orchestra.[11]